U.S. Postal Service Grappling with Growth of Longmont, Carbon Valley
Dozens of U.S. Postal Service routes in Longmont and the Carbon Valley area swelled beyond capacity in recent years, forcing additions of more mail carriers and delivery circuits to keep up with rapid housing development and accompanying population growth.
In her 20 years as a USPS mail carrier, Brandy Salazar has seen the mail service and its local operations undergo a lot of change. Though she still carries mail four days a week along her current route west of Niwot, Salazar now also works part time as a growth coordinator, a role that requires her to alter or add delivery paths to include homes and developments under construction in the Longmont and Carbon Valley areas.
With the county’s housing market demanding new construction — especially of rental properties — Salazar has been increasingly focused on balancing carriers’ routes when they encompass a new neighborhood to ensure the mail service stays the pace.
“Somebody might live on the same route forever. That route grows because of development, and once it gets too big, we have to adjust it. We have to shift territory to other routes and that’s how we build new routes,” Salazar said.
Since she was hired as a carrier, 27 new USPS delivery routes have been built from the Longmont Post Office at 201 Coffman St., and the Carbon Valley area has expanded from two routes to 11, Salazar said.
Data from the USPS Western Area office in Denver shows that from 2014 to this year, 3,295 new addresses have been put onto mail routes, with 62 percent of those additions coming in the Mead zip code of 80504. Multi-family apartment complexes are counted as one new address, even those where hundreds of tenants receive their mail.
When new developments are planned in the Longmont and Carbon Valley areas, Salazar springs into action as a growth coordinator. She examines the plans for building given to the city or county, gets address plat maps and accounts for the number of new homes and necessary mailboxes.
Within the Longmont Post Office’s delivery zone, there are currently 27 developments under construction for which Salazar is currently planning.
Officials with the USPS have hinted that the increase in the volume of mail distributed in Longmont and unincorporated Boulder and Weld counties north and east of the city to the towns of Mead, Firestone, Frederick and Dacono may soon call for upgraded mail facilities.
Formal plans have yet to be made to renovate the Longmont Post Office or any of the several post offices in the smaller towns, all of which receive their mail allotments from the Longmont or Erie post offices.
But USPS leaders acknowledge the current size of the Longmont building is inadequate for the volume of mail it now handles, and also suggested the smaller post offices could expand their delivery capacities.
“The region has experienced tremendous growth. We will continue to look at how to maximize and expand our facility footprint, especially in Longmont and Erie,” USPS spokesman David Rupert said in an email.
In response to the increased volume of mail, the USPS is currently hiring more carriers to work out of Longmont and fill routes east of the city, he added.
At some point, a few carriers may have routes based out of a post office in a Carbon Valley town, Salazar surmised.
“The little towns are set up for P.O. boxes for within their little towns. Well, the little town grew, and now there’s all the home delivery set up. The Frederick-Firestone-Dacono area, those smaller offices can’t hold carriers at this time — not that that won’t change in the future,” she said.
A transformation of the nature of mail service throughout the nation to a greater concentration on packages has been mirrored in Longmont. Largely due to the rising popularity of online shopping, its post office has seen a 15 increase in the volume of parcels year to date from 2017 to 2018, according to USPS data provided by Rupert.
“It’s a different job than when I first started,” Salazar said.
Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, firstname.lastname@example.org and twitter.com/samlounz .